Specialist's Insights: James Forster

A few words from Picture Specialist James Forster prior to the upcoming Fine Pictures, Silver and Jewellery Auction.



The market for 18th and 19th century English watercolours has been tough over the last ten years or so. I continue to wait for both established and new buyers to wake up and see what buying opportunities there are in this area of artistic excellence. Known as the ‘English art’ by our continental friends the watercolourwas adapted throughout society in the early 18th century and arguably enjoyed a golden age from 1750-1850. Obviously household names such as Turner still sell but in his wake are hundreds of superb antiquarians, vicars, aristocrats, military types and professional artists who painted tens of thousands of exquisite watercolours that routinely go through the UK auction rooms today. Supply certainly currently out ways demand but should not the canny investor or art enthusiast venture into the market now while quality abounds but interest is low?The British watercolourist of the 18th and 19th centuries was invariably out ward looking and keen to travel both within the UK and in Europe so there are views and subjects to suit all. As a medium it is a superb way to explore our rural and urban landscapes and remains accessible and easy to understand even in the 21st century.

Lots 415 – 422 demonstrate this variety of subject matter and were consigned by a private vendor and originally collected around the late Edwardian period. The highlight has to be lot 420, the Venetian view by William Callow RWS (1812-1908). It is a very confident work and exhibits that single stroke precision so evident in his work. The picture has a Boydell Galleries, Liverpool, label verso and is in its original frame.



Another watercolourist who mastered this medium is Thomas Bush Hardy (1842-1897) and this is evident in lot 416. He is arguably one of the greatest marine watercolourists of the 19th century. Prolific and well-travelled his work is a wonderful snapshot of coastal life and fishing communities. This and other watercolours in the sale represent real value and a fantastic opportunity to buy into a great British period of art. I don’t think this is an opportunity that should be missed!



If you would like any more information about these lots, please contact James Forster on 01743 450 700 or email at jamesf@hallsgb.com



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